What's At Stake: A look at February's action-packed second week

What's At Stake: A look at February's action-packed second week

Some of the world's best players are at the Premier event in Doha, and you'll find plenty others in Rotterdam, Buenos Aires and New York.

February stays busy in its second full week, but the stakes gets a little higher and the draws a little denser with top players. After a weekend of Fed Cup, the women return to the tour for a Premier event in Doha, which has one of the highest-quality 28-player draws of the season. The men, meanwhile, stay scattered between the U.S., South America, and Europe, where the first 500-level tournament of the month, in Rotterdam, is already underway. Here’s a look ahead at what we might see at those four events.


Qatar Total Open (WTA)

Doha, Qatar

$916,131; Premier

Plexicushion

Draw is here

The women begin their annual fortnight on the Arabian peninsula; this week they’re in Doha, next week they’ll travel to Dubai. The Qatar Total Open is the more compact event, with a smaller draw and purse; in this case, though, less quantity doesn’t mean less quality. Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, and Caroline Wozniacki are the top six seeds. Minus a few major names—defending champion Petra Kvitova among them—that’s a who’s who of this moment in WTA time.

First-round matches to watch:

Bertens vs. Camila Giorgi

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu

Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. Su-Wei Hsieh

Elise Mertens vs. Katerina Siniakova

Question of the week: Can Halep, who is the top seed but is no longer No. 1 in the world, use the good vibes from Romania’s Fed Cup victory over the Czech Republic this weekend to get her season in gear?


ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (ATP)

Rotterdam, Netherlands

$2,300,000; 500 ranking points

Indoor hard court

Draw is here

As in Doha, the draw in Rotterdam is small but strong—minus one major name at the top. That would be Roger Federer, who has decided not to defend his title from a year ago. It’s tough to make up for a loss like that, but ABN AMRO can boast name players throughout its brackets: Kei Nishikori, Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Milos Raonic, Daniil Medvedev, David Goffin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Denis Shapovalov, Tomas Berdych, Stan Wawrinka are all here. With none of the Big 3 present, these players must all must see an opportunity to go deep in a lucrative, 500-level tournament.

First-round matches to watch:

Goffin vs. Gael Monfils

Wawrinka vs. old friend Benoit Paire

Berdych vs. Gilles Simon

Question of the week: Medvedev or Tsitsipas? The young Greek and not-quite-as-young Russian have been the two best Next Gen players of the season so far. Who is more, as they say, “for real”? They’re in the same half in Rotterdam.


New York Open (ATP)

Uniondale, USA

$773,985; 250 ranking points

Indoor hard court

Draw is here

For decades, the men’s tour traveled to San Jose and Memphis in February; now it travels to Long Island—specifically, the cool black courts of Nassau Coliseum—for the New York Open. Like those old events, this one is highly U.S.-centric. John Isner, Frances Tiafoe, and Steve Johnson are the top three seeds, and they’re joined by countrymen Sam Querrey, Noah Rubin, Bradley Klahn, Mackenzie McDonald, Reilly Opelka, Tennys Sandgren, and Ryan Harrison.

Also here: Bernard Tomic

Question of the week: Can Tiafoe back up his run on the big stage at the Australian Open with another, on a smaller stage, on Long Island? Last year, he played well in New York and followed it up with his first title, in Del Ray.


Argentina Open (ATP)

Buenos Aires

$673,135; 250 ranking points

Red clay

Draw is here

The Golden Swing moves from Cordoba to Buenos Aires, and it picks up an important player along the way: Dominic Thiem, one of the world’s best clay-courters, is the top seed. Despite his second-round retirement at the Australian Open, you had a feeling he wouldn’t stay away from the tour for long. He’ll try to put a slow start to 2019 behind him in a draw that includes Fabio Fognini, Marco Cecchinato, Diego Schwartzman, and Joao Sousa.

Also here: Wild card Felix Auger-Aliassime, and surprise Cordoba champion Juan Ignacio Londero

Question of the week: Is Thiem ready to go a step farther and challenge for the title at Roland Garros this year? The first step in that long process will happen in Buenos Aires.


ATP Rotterdam (Mon - Sun 2/11 - 2/17)
•    See Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Karen Khachanov and Stefanos Tsitsipas live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday 2/11 at 6:30 am ET.

ATP New York (Mon - Sun 2/11 - 2/17)
•    Watch Frances Tiafoe, John Isner and Alex de Minaur live from New York starting Monday 2/11 at 11:00 am ET

WTA Doha (Mon - Sat 2/11 - 2/16)
•    Starting Monday 2/11 at 7:30 am ET, catch live coverage of the Qatar Total Open featuring Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber.

ATP Buenos Aires (Mon - Sun 2/11 - 2/17)
•    Catch the action from the Argentina Open including Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman. Live coverage begins on Tennis Channel Plus on Monday 2/11 at 12:30 pm ET

USTA College Match Day 3 Lake Nona - (Sat - 2/16)
•    Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of USTA College Matches in Lake Nona on Saturday 2/16 4:00 pm ET